Issue(s): Thor #377, Thor #378
But the mere act of Thor forging Asgardian steel has unexpected repercussions in the land of the Dark Elves.
"With each blow, another portal from Svartalfheim to Midgard will shatter", says Wormwood, a previously seen servant of Malekith. To stop Thor, the elves launch an attack, let by the giant Grendel.
Grendel is missing an arm, per what happened to him in Beowulf. To date, this is the only appearance of Grendel in Marvel comics, but i've listed him as a Character Appearing. He seems like the sort of character someone might think to bring back eventually.
Not yet able to don his armor, Thor loses the fight to Grendel, his bones further crushed.
Meanwhile, to make good on his promise to the Frost Giants, Loki kidnaps Iceman...
...and puts him in a contraption that forces him to generate freezing temperatures.
The Frost Giants, however, prove treacherous, and launch an attack on Loki, seeking the source of the cold. We'll learn that this is in part due to them being driven mad because Iceman finds a way to withhold his frost, but we saw in previous issues that the Frost Giants were already considering turning on Loki.
Before learning of the Frost Giants' attack, Loki also teleports Thor to his castle, so that he can be there when Thor begs Hela for death. But the giants interrupt that.
Loki holds off the giants for a while...
...and discovers that Iceman has been messing with his plans (i love the idea that Loki just sort of assumed that Iceman wouldn't be able to resist his machinations).
Loki is eventually beaten by the giants, though, and Thor is forced to drag his broken body off the floor to help out.
Thor finds a device of Loki's that he can use to bring his newly forged armor to Loki's castle...
...and with the armor he is able to fight the giants properly.
Note that the armor isn't just something he's wearing; it has "become my body".
Thor also rescues Iceman.
While Loki and Thor deal with the giants, throughout Asgard, all of the Norse gods begin stiffening up and becoming paralyzed. It begins on the outskirts, with Enchantress, who is still with Heimdall.
(Actually we can deduce that it actually started with Lorelei, who was described as being "statuesque" in the garden in issue #375, not long before Loki unleashed the demon potion that we'll learn is responsible for this stiffening plague.)
Hogun, Fandral and Sif have been training the Morensen boys...
...and they soon begin to feel the stiffness too. The group makes their way back to Volstagg's home, but the effect has spread all throughout Asgard, with only the Morensens not feeling it.
Giants, Dark Elves, and even Grendell. A lot of mythological creatures for Thor to fight. Add to that a cool use of Iceman and of course a (somewhat gruesome, when you think about it) solution to Thor's brittle bone problem. Sal Buscema continues to do great with all these epic mythological battles. Starting with the beard (which was also thanks to an attack from Hela), Simonson has been experimenting with Thor's look, in theory bringing him closer to what the actual mythological Thor might have looked like. The armor itself isn't all that significant in the long run, but after decades of Thor having pretty much the same look, this opens the door to changes for Thor that will carry over to when he's replaced by Eric Masterson.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 188,474. Single issue closest to filing date = 175,600.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor has spent some time at the hospital between the end of last issue and the beginning of this issue, and then it's "a few days" before the Dark Elves are alerted to Thor building his armor. I'm therefore allowing a little space between the end of last arc and this one. Iceman is kidnapped here in a scene repeated in X-Factor #15. Thor will return Iceman to X-Factor in a scene shown in both X-Factor #17 and Thor #379 and then appears in a number of Avengers issues before returning for the rest of Thor #379; i am putting the Avengers issues after this arc. Regarding the stiffening plot in Asgard, i'm allowing an indefinite period of time to pass since time works differently in that realm. It's unclear how long the Mortensens are alone in Volstagg's house before the events of Thor #379, in any event.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): showBalder, Beast, Enchantress, Fandral, Grendel, Grundroth, Gudrun, Heimdall, Hildy, Hogun, Iceman, Kevin Mortensen, Loki, Mick Mortensen, Sif, Thor, Ularic, Volstagg, Wormwood
Grendel does appear again in an issue of Incredible Hercules as an agent of Malkeith.
Posted by: Michael | March 9, 2014 4:46 PM
Oh great, thanks. I didn't remember that and i guess that issue hasn't been indexed by the MCP yet.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 9, 2014 4:54 PM
Also, Grendel's mother, also from Beowulf, shows up during Peter David's Captain Marvel.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | May 2, 2014 9:03 PM
I liked Grendel, he really had only one scene but they showed he was strong and he and Thor seemed to respect each other as warriors. Also nice seeing the Elves pop up one last time during this run.
Posted by: david banes | June 12, 2014 12:43 AM
Note that Simonson spells it "Grendell", with two l's, to distinguish him from Matt Wagner's Grendel, who'd been around for several years at this point.
Posted by: Andrew | March 10, 2015 9:48 PM
After all the time Simonson spent drawing Thor, it's a little weird to see Buscema drawing a scene that Simonson had drawn over in X-Factor.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 12, 2015 8:31 AM
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